We have a peculiar set up in 21st century Britain whereby If I was to say or write something derogatory about someone in another country – if they were to protest and take me to court – chances are I’d be hauled in front of a Judge to defend my words. It seems, however, if someone abroad commits horrendous acts of slaughter, rape or genocide and then flees to our country, our Government is rendered incapacitated to extradite them back to their country of origin by our Courts – in case to do so leads to their torture or death.
And so, they flood here, knowing that our strong humanist beliefs will shelter them from their past indiscretions and enable them, sometimes people who have killed many, to share the same bus or restaurant as our unsuspecting non-murderous citizens who’d be affronted if they knew the true unpleasant history of the person(s) that shares their space.
We wonder why our country has such a bad reputation the further East one sails – we are seen to espouse standards and export morals that we ourselves do not abide by. If you live in Africa, Iran, Afghanistan or Iraq and know, or even simply suspect, that a man who’d killed, tortured and maimed many people – including some of your own relatives, was walking free and protected by England and English law you’d be sick to your stomach. You’d wonder at the double standards that doesn’t allow this man who’d brutalised your friends, neighbours, your children to be brought back to your country and account for the crimes committed.
And they are right. We often condemn Russia for protecting known hitmen and I’m sure there would be absolute outrage in this country if a person killed hundreds of our citizens, fled to Iran and was then protected by the state. Yes, you can argue that once returned we would not torture and we would not executed. However, with regard to the latter these are our standards that are not universally excepted.
Human rights are crucial and come from one of the worst moments in our history on this planet – Hitler and the Nazi’s. We must not forget the circumstances that brought in these laws, however, must not allow the continual reinterpretation between different generations of judges and lawyers to decimate credibility in what is about protecting the innocent – not harbouring the guilty.